Addressing new ambassadors, high commissioners, consuls-general and deputy heads of mission on Tuesday at his Karen residence, Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said their continued stay in their postings is pegged on increasing the volume of trade.
“”Wherever you go in the first year, go and study the volume of our exports to that country and within an year, there must be a shift … If you go there and you don’t increase volume of trade, you have no business being there at all. There must be a positive achievement after you report. You must be able to account for you being there – opening markets, enlarging the existing ones,” DP Gachagua said.
He also said the Kenya Kwanza Administration is re-engineering Kenya’s diplomatic priorities and architecture to focus more on commercial diplomacy as opposed to “”the traditional way of diplomacy”.
“You must be aggressive as Kenya’s produce is highly sought. I have travelled to many places and our presence is not there and it is you at the embassy who will do this job. To market our coffee, tea, milk, meat, avocado and miraa and get our space in the world market,” the DP added.
The Kenya Foreign Policy document cites economic diplomacy as a priority and necessary to secure Kenya’s regional and overall economic objectives in line with the Kenya Vision 2030.
The objectives of the economic pillar include increasing capital flows to Kenya, supporting export promotion and investment by Kenyan enterprises within the region and beyond; promoting Kenya as a favourite destination for foreign direct investment, tourism, and conferencing; expanding access to traditional markets and explore new destinations for exports and enhancing technological advancement by exploring new sources of affordable and appropriate technology.
The policy also seeks to support the exploration of alternative sources of traditional and renewable energy; strengthen regional economic communities and organizations to serve as competitive springboards to emerging and global markets; and promote fair trade and equitable bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements.
He also communicated that as the Executive cuts down on travel, the diplomats will have more responsibility to represent the ministers and sell the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, the Kenya Kwanza development blueprint, in the capitals they will be posted.
Additionally, Gachagua directed the envoys to market Kenya as the number one tourist destination as the country is not doing well in tourism.
“I know people feel the Kenya Tourism Board is not doing enough, maybe we are not giving it enough attention in terms of marketing, but it starts with you. It is you to initiate the action and we can follow up from here.
He also urged the diplomats to engage the Kenyan diaspora in their capitals of posting and ensure Kenyans are well taken care of, encouraged to invest back in Kenya and use them as a resource as they understand the countries they reside, the opportunities, the people, and the traditions.
On labour migration, he encouraged the envoys to seek employment opportunities abroad and create good frameworks to protect them from exploitation.
Prior to their election, Gachagua had in August 2022 said ambassadors and high commissioners who would not secure markets abroad would be recalled, even as he added that Kenya Kwanza’s foreign policy would be centred on trade and agri-business.
Gachagua said 70 per cent of the responsibilities of ambassadors would be to find markets for Kenya’s produce.
“The ambassador to China will be tasked with securing markets for our avocados and macadamia, the one in Pakistan will look for tea market, the one in America will seek a coffee market, and those in Arab states will have to secure miraa market as well as that of beef and mutton,” Gachagua said, adding that if farmers are paid well, they will produce more thus more exports.
The envoys include Ambassador Willy Bett (China), High Commissioner Peter Munyiri (India) Ambassador Betty Chebet (France), Ambassador Stella Orina (Germany), Tabu Irina (Ireland) and George Orina (Ethiopia).
Amb Philip Mundia has been sent to Maputo, Mozambique, Amb Issac Parashina proceeds to Abuja, Nigeria, while Amb Fredrick Musambili is the new envoy in Rome, Italy.
Amb Angeline Kavindu will be in Stockholm, Sweden, while Jane Wairimu replaces Catherine Mwangi in Pretoria, South Africa.
Col Rtd Shem Amadi replaces George Masafu in Kinshasa, Sabdio Dido to Gaborone, Jeremy Nyamasyo to Juba, Jeremy Laibuttah to troubled Khartoum, former DP Gachagua’s Chief of Staff George Macgoye to Djibouti and Joyce Khasimwa Luanda, Angola.
Others are Janet Mwawasi (Kigali, Rwanda); Kiringo Kubai (Mogadishu, Somalia); Mercy Mueni (Arusha, Tanzania); Abdi Weli (consul general Hargeisa, Somalia); Fouzia Abdirahman (Bern, Switzerland); Sharon ole Sein (Madrid, Spain); Maurice Makoloo (Vienna, Austria); and Prof Peter Ngure (Unesco, France).
Others are Emmy Jerono (Seoul, South Korea); John Ekitela (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) replacing former CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro; Wilson Kogo (Canberra, Australia); Mohamed Ramadhan (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); Lt Gen Albert Kendagor (Tel Aviv, Israel) repacing former Air Force Commander Lt Gen (Rtd) Samuel Thuita, and Mohamed Nor Adan (Doha, Qatar).
Other deputy head of missions who were redeployed are Registrar of Treaties at MFA Amb James Waweru (Geneva, Switzerland); Kasera Achayo (Paris, France); Valerie Rugene (Berlin, Germany); Irene Maswan (Moscow, Russia); and Daniel Cheruiyot,(Brussels, Belgium).
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